More LatAm Countries Could Join Uruguay in Legalizing Cannabis
May 28th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Uruguay’s legalization of adult-use cannabis spawned tens of thousands of Argentines to protest against the prohibition in the streets of Buenos Aires. In Chile, efforts to legalize cannabis have been around for some time, with ten of thousands taking to the street to protest last year. And in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilians took to the streets in a Marijuana March designed to promote legalization efforts.
At the heart of Chile’s potential reform is Dr. Milton Flores, a therapist who helped his patients using cannabis. Dr. Flores was arrested for self-cultivation and consumption of cannabis for medical purposes, but the Supreme Court overturned the judgment sending the doctor to jail after widespread support. In April, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights filed a complaint in response to the decision.
The move could force President Bachelet to make some key changes to the country’s Constitution regarding drug laws. As in the United States, cannabis is considered to be a hard drug in the country along the same lines as cocaine or heroin. Ms. Bachelet could refocus cannabis regulation efforts on illegal trafficking rather than those using the drug for therapeutic reasons that are gaining more and more credibility.
In Argentina, Father Juan Carlos Molina, a Catholic priest appointed as the country’s new drug czar, said the country deserves a debate about whether to follow Uruguay in regulating marijuana. Brazil’s former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso also called for the decriminalization of all drugs and allowing countries to experiment with drug regulation back in November of last year.
These movements come on the heels of recreational and adult-use cannabis legalization in many U.S. states. With the U.S. being the largest force in the War on Drugs, many global policies have been designed based on their goals and funding. The move in the U.S. towards legalization may therefore result in more relaxed laws in many other countries around the world, including those in Latin America.
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